JC / Railbird

In the Red

How the pool totals looked through the card at Santa Anita on Wednesday:

Pool totals through race six at Santa Anita, 12/29/10
Edited screenshot from an anonymous player forwarded by Pull the Pocket. Player’s figures vary in amount, not trend, from the totals posted on Equibase.

There was a Super 5 carryover of $32,444 in the nightcap, to which bettors added $111,054, but that didn’t much help the day’s total. Only $4,038,178 was wagered on the eight-race card, 28.1% less than the $5,617,017 that was wagered on last year’s comparable eight-race Wednesday card. Reviewing the numbers, Bill Finley concludes:

There can be only one reason why Santa Anita has gotten off to such a wretched start — the takeout increase. It looks like horseplayers actually can be pushed too far.

I think he’s right that horseplayers are feeling pushed too far, although not to the extent that handle is off by so much due mainly to horseplayer action, which is likely magnified by several other factors influencing wagering. There were 50 betting interests at Santa Anita on Wednesday, for instance, compared to last year’s 60, a decline of 16.7%. Yesterday’s fourth race was scratched down to three starters — on which Santa Anita bizarrely allowed trifecta wagering — reducing the pool totals on that race to a third of what the fourth race took in last year. There also hasn’t been a ton of value in the pools since the opener: Favorites have won 13 of 26 races, at an average price of $4.50, and finished in the money in 20 of 26. I didn’t play Santa Anita on Wednesday, and it wasn’t because I was protesting — it was because there was nothing to play. Never mind the boycott — like the SoCal track surface argument of the past three years, the takeout debate obscures a deeper problem — for the most part, California racing just isn’t that compelling.

12/31/10 Update: Steve Davidowitz says it much better: “Given smaller fields dominated as they are by heavy wagering favorites, it even can be argued persuasively that the prescribed takeout increase will prove to be an unfair price for the product on display…. The net effect at the windows is sending a stronger message than any boycott.”

1 Comment

let’s take it one step further.
boycott n.y.r.a. until they bring back the 6 hr. retention barn for all races.

Posted by palaceplace on December 30, 2010 @ 3:31 pm